LEARNER AUTONOMY: SUCCESS STORIES AND CONSTRAINTS

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Transcript of LEARNER AUTONOMY: SUCCESS STORIES AND CONSTRAINTS

LEARNER AUTONOMY: SUCCESS STORIES AND CONSTRAINTS1
26.11.2010
26th of November 2010
Programme
EigelStein (Essen-Rüttenscheid)
09.30 Opening
Leni Dam: The beginning of a success story - a personal account
10.00 - 10.45 Opening keynote
10.45 - 11.15 Coffee
14.00 - 14.45 Afternoon keynote
Markus Ritter: What about teacher autonomy? The perspective of teacher education
14.45 - 16.15 Parallel workshops
16.15 - 16.45 Coffee break
17.30 - 18.00 Winding up in plenary and end of day
18.00 Glühwein at Essen Christmas market (optional)
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Keynotes Opening: Dr. h.c. Leni Dam The beginning of a success story – a personal account The opening talk of the conference will be given by Leni Dam. She will give an account of why and how she got started with the development of learner autonomy in her own classes in the mid- seventies. Opening Keynote: Professor em. Dr. Lienhard Legenhausen Principles and successes in autonomous language learning The talk will start out by outlining some underlying and procedural principles when developing learner autonomy. It will give examples of successful practices and illustrate communicative as well as grammatical outcomes. The data derive from a research project in which the linguistic development of a Danish mixed ability class was systematically observed over a period of four years. The talk will conclude with mentioning various obstacles that have to be overcome when implementing principles of autonomous language learning. Afternoon Keynote: Professor Dr. Markus Ritter What about teacher autonomy? The perspective of teacher education It is one thing to look for ways of strengthening learner autonomy – but it is quite another to identify the prerequisites on the teacher's side, i.e. his or her (need for) autonomy. While this is by no means a new effort (e.g. Lamb & Reinders 2008), the complex interrelationship between learner and teacher autonomy continues to deserve our attention. This talk will proceed from the perspective of teacher education, addressing questions such as: What are teacher training students' beliefs about the importance of the concept? What can be done to foster the autonomy of future teachers, and what are current constraints?
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Workshops
Workshop 1 Teacher and In-service Training for Learner Autonomy (morning)
Coordinator: Bernd Rüschoff
Description: Two separate 45 minutes workshops run by Frank Lacey, an experienced language teacher and IATEFL learner autonomy specialist and by Andy Barfield, joint editor of Independence, the newsletter of the IATEFL Learner Autonomy SIG.
Contributors : Part I: Frank Lacey (Denmark) (45 minutes) Autonomy, never, never, never!
Part II: Andy Barfield (Japan) (45 minutes) Of things as exactly as they are? Exploring narrative coherences about autonomy in language education
Workshop 1 Frank Lacey Place: R12 V03 D20 (third floor) Ådalens Privatskole, Ishøj, Denmark Time: 11.15 am – 12.45 am frank@jernsokkerne.org
Autonomy, never, never, never!
Once upon a time it was my firm conviction that it was the teacher's responsibility to teach and that ideas of giving students responsibility for their learning were at worst a refusal to take responsibility and at best naïve nonsense. I, the teacher, was paid to do a job. I had a responsibility. In addition, I loved teaching and enjoyed the interaction with my students. These same students scored extremely high results year after year in state controlled exams, and I as a teacher had a very good reputation among both students and parents. My teacher controlled classroom with a teacher controlled curriculum worked. Tampering with this successful model would be foolish, but I did. It was, however, not a case of Saul on the road to Damascus, a sudden change of practice upon seeing the light but rather a long and very painful process which took over three years. Like any teacher worth his salt, being a teacher is an integral part of how I define myself as a person. Thus, these 3+ years were full not only of hard study but also existential considerations. What was I doing? I, who had a reputation of being a strong teacher in control of my classes, was flirting with the idea of autonomy. An idea which, it appeared, was diametrically opposed to everything I stood for....
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Workshop 1 Andy Barfield Place: R12 V03 D20 (third floor) Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan Time: 11.15 am – 12.45 am Faculty of Law
Department of English barfield.andy@gmail.com
Of things as exactly as they are? Exploring narrative coherences about autonomy in language
education Just what are the narrative coherences that we create about our particular pedagogies for autonomy? In this workshop I would like to consider this question from a teacher development point of view. I will focus on the written stories that different teachers have created about their engagement with autonomy in language education. These stories come from different interviews and newsletter articles, many of which have been published in teacher association newsletters rather than academic journals. In particular, we will focus on different ways in which writers make their engagement with autonomy coherent to others, and what such coherence reveals about their/our beliefs to do with autonomy in language education. Who are the actors that inhabit such narratives? What resources are presented as necessary for the development of autonomy in language education? What actions and events are highlighted as significant drivers of the development of autonomy? And what evaluations are made by the writer (and readers) of such narrative elements? Exploring these questions lets us raise for discussion our own assumptions, as well as re-consider the development of autonomy in our own practices. As these stories come from different regional contexts (that is, not just Europe), they further let us understand autonomy in language education from different local perspectives. In a word, this workshop will work with the written narratives of ‘real’ teachers and invite participants to read, analyse and discuss such stories as a vehicle for their own teacher development.
Workshop 2 The challenges of developing learner autonomy and the role of self-assessment
Coordinator: Lienhard Legenhausen
Description: In this workshop three experienced practitioners share their research results and reflections on assessment as an important tool for learner autonomy with us. The discussions are moderated by Lienhard Legenhausen, one of the major researchers in this field.
Contributors : Maria Giovanna Tassinari (Germany)
A dynamic model for learner autonomy: raising awareness through self-assessment Mirjam Hauck (UK),
Promoting teacher and learner autonomy through e-literacy skills development in cross- institutional exchanges
Ruth Wilkinson (Spain), Learning to Learn: Helping students become more autonomous
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Workshop 2 Maria Giovanna Tassinari Place: R12 V02 D20 (second floor) University of Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin) Time: 11.15 am – 12.45 am Department for Romanic Languages Sprachlernzentrum, Italian Language tassinar@zedat.fu-berlin.de
A dynamic model for learner autonomy: raising awareness through self-assessment Which competences and skills are needed for learner autonomy in foreign language learning? How can we raise awareness in language learners? Which tools or methods are needed? As a possible answer to these questions, I have developed a dynamic model for learner autonomy with descriptors of attitudes, competences and skills of language learners in higher education contexts. This model accounts for cognitive, metacognitive, action-oriented and affective components of learner autonomy and for their mutual relations within the learning process. The model is dynamic in order to allow learners to concentrate on their own needs, priorities and goals on their way to learner autonomy. The descriptors are formulated as ‘can-do-statements’ and combine the external perspective (of an observer) with the internal perspective (of the learner). After it was validated by experts, the model has been transferred to checklists for self-assessment and has been tested with students, counselors and teachers at the Language Centre of the Freie Universität Berlin. The students’ feedback shows that they were able to benefit from the self-assessment: their awareness, self-reflection and decision-making in the autonomous learning process improved. The teachers’ feedback confirmed that the checklists can also be used within language courses in order to foster learner autonomy. However, in order to ensure the success of the self-assessment process and to foster learner autonomy a pedagogical dialogue is needed, in form of counseling and/or learner support. Moreover, a learning and teaching context is necessary, in which learner autonomy is acknowledged as a main pedagogical goal. Workshop 2 Mirjam Hauck Place: R12 V02 D20 (second floor) The Open University Time: 11.15 am – 12.45 am Faculty of Education and Languages Studies
Department of Languages m.hauck@open.ac.uk
Promoting teacher and learner autonomy through e-literacy skills development in cross- institutional
exchanges This contribution presents findings from two empirical case studies which followed a task-based telecollaborative learning format. Participants were pre- and in-service teachers and tutors from colleges/universities in Germany, Great Britain, Poland and the United States. The project aimed at promoting teacher and learner autonomy through e-literacy skills development. It was partly inspired by “experiential modeling” (Hoven, 2006) with project participants discovering modes available online and their impact on meaning making and communication by being engaged in hands-on analysis of web resources and social networking tools. Our hypothesis was that such awareness gain would increase the teachers own autonomy in virtual learning environments and enable them to design tasks which promote learner autonomy as understood by Palfreyman (2006, p. 354) drawing on Wertsch, Tulviste and Hagstrom (1993) i.e. the informed use of a range of interacting resources in context. We further argue that this awareness is
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reflected in enhanced multimodal communicative competence, that is “the ability to understand the combined potential of various modes for making meaning” (Royce, 2002, p. 92), and thus e-literacy allowing teachers and learners to realize the potential of blended and online only settings for language acquisition purposes. (in cooperation with Carolin Fuchs and Andreas Müller-Hartmann) Workshop 2 Ruth Wilkinson Place: R12 V02 D20 (second floor) University of Castilla la Mancha Time: 11.15 am – 12.45 am Department of Modern Languages
English Language Ruth.Wilkinson@uclm.es
Learning to Learn: Helping students become more autonomous
The purpose of this paper is to describe an action research project, which was carried out with a class of second-year students following the Degree of English Philology at the University of Castilla la Mancha. The project was designed with the explicit aim of promoting students’ autonomy and helping them gradually take greater control of their own learning process – without abandoning the fixed syllabus or jettisoning the text book. Given that many of our students display very high levels of dependence on the teacher and on traditional learning-by-rote methods, I set out to see if I could help them change their initial attitudes of teacher dependence by employing a double barrage of “autonomising” teaching/learning activities and reflective, learning-awareness tasks. These measures included periodic, structured reflections, self-assessment, goal-setting and monitoring, homework sharing, choice of learning materials, peer- reviewing of written and oral work and the use of a learning Portfolio. Activities used draw particularly on the work and insights of Dam (1995; 2008), Legenhausen (2001; 2008), Little and Perklová (2003), Scharle & Szabó (2000) and Wenden (1987). In this paper I describe how students reacted to the different measures adopted, and the changes in attitudes and behaviour observed. I conclude by weighing up the benefits as well as the problems encountered in the process and examining the lessons learned. References: Dam, L.(1995) Learner Autonomy 3: From Theory to Classroom Practice. Dublin: Authentik Dam, L. (2008) “How do we recognise an Autonomous Classroom? – Revisited” TESOL Symposium, Sevilla Legenhausen, L. (2001) “Classroom research in autonomous language learning” en Independence 42 (IATEFL Learner Autonomy SIG) Legenhausen, L. (2008) “Arguments for Learner Autonomy” TESOL Symposium, Sevilla Little, D. and Perclová, R., (2003) European Language Portfolio: Guide for Teachers and Teacher trainers. Council of Europe. Scharle, Agota and Szabó, Anita. (2000) Learner Autonomy: A guide to developing learner responsibility. Cambridge University Press Wenden, A. (1987) “Incorporating Learner Training in the Classroom” in Wenden, A. & Rubin, J. (eds.) Learner Strategies in Language Learning. London: Prentice Hall
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Workshop 3 Developing learner autonomy with a coursebook Leni Dam, Denmark
Is it possible? How is it possible? A hands on 90 min workshop run by the renowned teacher, teacher trainer and author Leni Dam. Leni is one of the pioneers of autonomous language learning. She is, to our knowledge, so far the only one who has successfully put the full concept into practice.
Workshop 3 Leni Dam Place: Casino (ground floor) Time: 11.15 am – 12.45 am
Developing learner autonomy with a coursebook This workshop will consider the possibilities for developing learner autonomy within the framework of a – compulsory - coursebook system. It will start out with outlining some important issues and principles in connection with autonomous language learning. Participants will then in groups discuss the possibilities of implementing these principles in a coursebook-based classroom, using a concrete coursebook as point of departure. Based on the results from these group discussions, plenary at the end of the workshop will give space for a question and answer session as well as the summing up of possibilities and pitfalls when developing learner autonomy with a coursebook.
Workshop 4 Involving Learners in the Digital World
Coordinator: Petra Pointner
Description: In this workshop two practitioners and researchers are presenting their research results in the field of using technology for promoting learner autonomy. Petra Pointner, an IATEFL and technology specialist is going to provide an introduction into the topic and will lead the discussion.
Contributors: Petra Pointner (Germany) Enhancing learner autonomy through the use of web 2.0 technology Torsten Leuschner (Belgium) & Carola Strobl (Belgium)
Exploring the Potential and Limitations of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 Applications in Foreign Language Writing Proficiency Courses in Higher Education
Rachel Lindner (Germany) Using computer-mediated intercultural collaboration to facilitate learner autonomy beyond the walls of the ESP classroom
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Workshop 4 Petra Pointner Place: Bibliothekssaal (ground floor) RWTH Aachen University Time: 11.15 am – 12.45 am Language Centre
Department of English pointner@sz.rwth-aachen.de
Enhancing learner autonomy through the use of Web 2.0 technology Most teachers are already aware of the fact that Web 2.0 offers their students a great number of applications and services which open up completely new paths for learning, allow them to become more autonomous and help them to monitor their own progress. However, a great number of teachers are still reluctant to take the plunge and start implementing those new tech tools in their classes because they are convinced that they lack the necessary expertise and would need to invest too much time to keep students engaged. In my talk, I will demonstrate how easy it actually is to adopt tech tools like Twitter, Wallwisher, Voxopop or Jing to help students become independent learners. Furthermore, I will focus on concrete examples illustrating how my own students used those applications to track their own learning progress as well as that of their classmates. By creating their own Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter, they were able to share their successes and setbacks with their peers and set up language archives in which they documented their newly gained knowledge. With the help of social networks and internet platforms my students managed to make their self-study activities more interactive and collaborative and thus ultimately more effective. At the end of my talk, we will reflect on the special role that the teacher plays in these learning scenarios and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the use of technology with adult learners. Workshop 4 Torsten Leuschner & Carola Strobl Place: Bibliothekssaal (ground floor) University College Ghent, Belgium Time: 11.15 am – 12.45 am Faculty of Translation Studies – German Section
torsten.leuschner@hogent.be
University College Ghent, Belgium Faculty of Translation Studies – German Section
carola.strobl@hogent.be
Exploring the Potential and Limitations of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 Applications in Foreign Language Writing Proficiency Courses in Higher Education
This paper discusses two practical applications of virtual learning environments for foreign language writing proficiency courses in Flemish higher education. Using terms from Paavola / Hakkarainen (2005), the first may be described as “dialogical”, the second as “trialogical”, with wikis being the collaboratively created objects. Our first project centred on e-mail tandem partnerships between Flemish majors of FL German and a group of L1 German peers; we report on the successful aspects of the project as well as on problems encountered due to institutional, linguistic, and intercultural constraints. The second project consisted in the joint creation of German FL wikis within groups of Flemish bachelor students. Besides peer-collaboration, peer-revision also played an important role. We highlight conclusions concerning the (rather divergent) appreciation of the project by the students as expressed in a post-hoc questionnaire. Both our applications demonstrate how the computer literacy acquired in private communication of “digital natives” can be successfully integrated into the teaching of FL writing in higher education. Our aim was to provide frameworks for learning that stimulate “languaging and agency” as “key elements in language learning” (Rüschoff 2009, 50). An obvious strength of wiki´s is that they
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implicitly sharpen the focus on the writing process (Kárpáti 2009, 144). Nevertheless, applying Web 2.0 in higher education also implies new challenges to the institutional framework: Flexible curricula, modernized infrastructure, and last but not least, appropriate instruction of “digital immigrant” teachers are required in order to make “School 2.0” (ibid., 141f) happen. References: Kárpáti, Andrea (2009): Web 2 Technologies for Net Native Language Learners: a ‘Social CALL’. In: ReCALL 21, p. 139-156 Paavola, Sami / Kai Hakkarainen (2005): The Knowledge Creation Metaphor – An Emergent Epistemological Approach to Learning. In: Science & Education 14, p. 535–557 Rüschoff, Bernd (2009): Output-Oriented Language Learning With Digital Media. In: Thomas, Michael (ed.), Handbook of Research on Web 2.0 and Second Language Learning. Hershey, London: IGI Global, chapter III, p. 42-59 Workshop 4 Rachel Lindner Place: Bibliothekssaal (ground floor) Sprachenzentrum, Language Centre Time: 11.15 am – 12.45 am Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
rachel.lindner@jobline.lmu.de Using computer-mediated intercultural collaboration to facilitate learner autonomy beyond the walls
of the ESP classroom Computer-mediated intercultural exchanges can be implemented to unite the seemingly contradictory areas of collaborative and autonomous language learning, providing students with a stimulating context in which they can develop linguistic, intercultural and e-competences necessary for active involvement in today’s globalised and networked society. In this presentation I describe an online exchange between Sociology students participating in English for Specific Purposes courses at Munich and Ljubljana Universities. Using English as their lingua franca, students were set the task of collaborating in culturally diverse groups in a group wiki as well as with further e-tools of their choice on a project of sociological interest. The exchange provided both the teachers and participating students with insights into the kind of skills that can be facilitated in this collaborative and yet autonomous learning context. I report on these insights and provide practical guidelines for teachers interested in setting up their own computer-mediated intercultural exchange.
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Coordinator: Michael Rogge
Description: In this workshop three researchers are going to relate the concept of learner autonomy to other ideas that are widely discussed in a European context. Michael Rogge, a former employee of the Ministry of Education in North Rhine Westphalia, is leading the discussions.
Contributors: Meike Strohn (Germany)
Autonomy support and Academic Emotions in Foreign Language Classes: False friends or right ones?
Marcella Menegale (Italy) The importance of Language Learner Autonomy for Plurilinguism
Workshop 5 Meike Strohn Place: SLZ I, R12 R03 A81 (third floor) Ruhr-University-Bochum Time: 11.15 am – 12.45 am Faculty of Humanities
Didactics of the English Language Meike.Strohn@rub.de
Differentiated Instruction in the EFL Classroom – the Teacher's Perspective
How…